O.E. Carr, city manager of Dubuque, Iowa, addressed 100 of his colleagues gathered in Montreal in 1924 at the ICMA Annual Conference to present them with a code of ethics for the profession: "The City Manager's Code of Ethics". Taking that first step to create a core set of principles so early in its infancy was fundamental to the success of the local government management profession. Today, those core values and principles are taught in MPA programs, reflected in local government management best practices, and enforced in a peer-review process governed by the ICMA Executive Board and adopted by the membership.
"The future of the profession and the Association looks bright. It looks bright because all of us are working together to strengthen each member and to continue to live up to our Code of Ethics, which requires all of us to be dedicated to concepts of effective and democratic local government. It is the element of professional integrity that more than any other factor has built a profession and an Association." - William E. Busuden, Assistant Director, ICMA, 1974
- Honoring the Code's 100-Year History
Celebration of the centennial kicks off in January and will feature a celebration at ICMA's Annual Conference, September 21-25, 2024, in Pittsburgh/Alleghany County, Pennsylvania and continue through December 2024. The year-long celebration will include monthly features in PM Magazine, Leadership Matters, spotlights and stories from the membership, an interactive timeline highlighting the Code's history in words and pictures, and more! Stay tuned and contact us at email@example.com with questions, thoughts or comments.
- Professional Ethics: Our Past, Present and Future
Uphold the commitment to professional management, the value of public services, honesty and integrity, political neutrality, and seeking no personal gain as a result of the position held.
Demonstrate exemplary conduct in both personal and professional matters.
Respect the role and contributions of elected officials.
Serve the public equitably and governing body members equally. Keep the community informed about local government matters.
Support and lead employees.
Explore common ethical issues by topic area and the Tenets and/or guidelines that address them.
- Ethical Leadership in Focus
Lead by being the role model for ethical conduct and remember you set the tone for your organization and community.
- Elevating Ethical Leadership by Martha Perego
- The Seven Leadership Qualities for Times of Civic Disruption by Randall Reid
- Strengthening Your Moral Compass to Overcome Ethical Roadblocks by Kevin Woodhouse
- Ethical Leadership and Moral Courage in Public Management by Merrett Stierheim
- Democrat or Republican Manager? Why It's Crucial to Stay Politically Neutral by Matt Candland
- The Importance of Ethical Decision in our Response to Emergencies by Cheryl Hilvert
- Renew Your Pledge to Honor the Code
All ICMA members agree to abide by the ICMA Code of Ethics and are subject to the the ICMA Rules of Procedure for Enforcement. Leadership in a management structure committed to equity, transparency, integrity, stewardship of public resources, political neutrality, and respect for the rights and responsibility of elected officials and residents strengthens democratic local governance. ICMA members pledge to uphold these principles in their conduct and decisions in order to merit the trust of the public, elected officials, and staff they serve.
- Share Your Story with ICMA
In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the ICMA Code of Ethics (Code), ICMA invites members to reflect on how the Code has influenced you personally and professionally. Your association wants to hear from you!
- What's on Your Wall?
Demonstrate your commitment to the highest ethical standards by hanging the ICMA Code of Ethics Frameable version on your wall. Take a picture of you with your Code post it online using #ICMAEthicsMatter and tagging @ICMA!
- The Year 1924: 100 Years Ago
The principles outlined in the Code 100 years ago remain timeless and continue to resonate with practitioners today. Here's a glimpse of what was happening in the world in 1924 when the first version of the ICMA Code of Ethics, consisting of 13 articles, was adopted:
- Ellis Island closes as an immigration entry point to the US
- Wrigley Building Finished
- U.S. Army planes first round-the-world flight
- The first Winter Olympics, held in Chamonix, France
- The Indian Citizenship Act passed
- Willem Einthoven wins the Nobel Prize for the electrocardiogram
- New York City the first Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
- J. Edgar Hoover appointed as the head of the Bureau of Investigation Later called the FBI
- Lt. Russell L. Maughan completes the first daylight hours transcontinental flight
- Ethics Quiz
Test your knowledge of the Code!
Ethics Matter! ™ Monthly Column in PM Magazine
Celebrating this milestone and reflections on the year ahead
Helping us find the right path to follow in order to be true to our professional values
End Corruption in Local Government [PM Magazine, November 2019]
Highlights the foundational principles of local government professionals.